Jaguars second-round draft choice Maurice Drew has been cleared of assault charges and he is in Jacksonville to participate in the Jaguars' final two practices of the OTA (organized team activities) season.
Drew said he was informed on Monday morning by his attorney, Aaron Byer of Los Angeles, that the Los Angeles Country district attorney had dropped charges stemming from an incident the week before this year's NFL draft. Drew's agent, Adisa Bakari of Washington D.C., confirmed that the charges were dropped on Monday afternoon.
"To tell you the truth, I never felt any pressure. I knew in the end it was going to come out that I was innocent. I'm just glad I can do football and I don't have to worry about any negative media," Drew said.
Drew and UCLA teammate Marcedes Lewis, the Jaguars' first-round draft pick, were at Alltel Stadium on Monday and will participate in Tuesday's and Wednesday's practices. They will be the Jaguars' final practices before training camp begins on July 29. Drew and Lewis were forbidden by NFL rules to participate in Jaguars' OTA practices until UCLA conducted its graduation ceremonies, which the school did this past Saturday.
"It's mistaken identity. I was eating right next to the guy (alleged victim) when it happened. He just said it was me. It wasn't me," Drew said of the alleged assault at a Denny's restaurant near the UCLA campus on April 23.
It was reported recently that Drew would not attend practices this week because he had to stay in Los Angeles for a preliminary hearing. Drew said that was not the case.
"I was going to be here regardless. I don't know how that nonsense got out," Drew said. "I never did anything wrong in my life; never in trouble with the law. All I ever did was play football and go to school and help in the community. I didn't get the benefit of the doubt. The media jumped on it and ran with it. Jacksonville did a background check on me and found nothing wrong."
Drew informed the Jaguars before the draft of the alleged assault.
"I told them what happened. They believed me and a lot of teams passed me up because of this incident. I'm in a great place now," Drew said.
Bakari told jaguars.com on Monday afternoon that he wasn't surprised by the district attorney's decision to drop the charges.
"We maintained from the beginning what the facts were. Everything proved to be what we said it would be. There was no evidence at all suggesting Maurice was involved. There was no identification by anybody witnessing the event. He got up and left. That's what the surveillance tapes showed," Bakari said.
The victim of the alleged attack filed a civil suit against Drew. Bakari expects that to be dropped soon, too.
"It's still a little frustrating that he had to begin his NFL career on this note. He's a very grounded human being. He's not high on his horse or arrogant in the least little bit. In the media he was given no benefit of the doubt. All of that misinformation; nobody called. If they had called, we would've said there was no (preliminary hearing) scheduled," Bakari added.
Bakari said there are no plans "at this point" to file a counter suit.
"It's over now. The DA confirmed today that Maurice was not involved," Bakari said.